I do love a book populated with characters who just crawl right into your heart and stay there. That's exactly what happened with The Homecoming of Samuel Lake. At first you might wonder about it of course. Samuel and Willadee Lake did, after all, name their three children Noble, Swan, and Bienville. As southerners say, "Well, I swan!"
Swan Lake is the main character in the story. Her father is a preacher who has lost his church because he refuses to stop his intolerable activities such as driving out to pick up poor (and poorly dressed) people to bring them to church services. My goodness, there are proprieties to keep. Anyway, Willadee and the kids are at her Moses family reunion and Samuel arrives after a family tragedy. He's a lost soul and doesn't know what will happen to his family.
We also get to know Willadee's brother Toy, a veteran who lost a leg saving a black soldier, and her mother Calla. Both of these characters have hearts as big as their farm. There is also a purely evil character who beats his wife and son and animals. Meanwhile, Swan, Noble and Bienville have great adventures on the farm using their wonderful imaginations, until they encounter actual danger.
I laughed so much reading this great story, and then I cried and then I laughed again. We watch Samuel struggle to find his place in the world and the kids as they struggle to understand evil. Meanwhile, Willadee and Calla sacrifice to make the farm a place of safety and love. I can't really tell you anymore without ruining the story for you and I would hate to do that because this is the best book I've read for a long, long time. Please do read it. I know you'll love it.